Everybody needs hope.

It is one of those things that drive us, help us when times are difficult we need something to turn to.

A promise, dream or wish that things will get better.

Sometimes we pin our hopes on the most unreliable things - a lucky charm, a talisman or dare I say it that winning lottery ticket.

Well Easter is all about hope. The story of Jesus who was brutally persecuted and horribly put to death became the story of Jesus who rose from the grave, defeated death and gave us all the promise of a new life.

We see evidence of new life all round us at this time of year. From the blossom on the trees, the flowers in the garden to the lambs in the fields we see spring all around us.

New shoots appearing in many places reminding us that God's creation renews itself time after time.

And we hear talk of the new shoots of economic recovery. New signs of growth in the wealth of our nation.

A new hope for all that things will improve. If that is the case it is to be welcomed.

But I fear that for many, this new hope hasn't quite reached them. For the hard pressed, for the hungry, for those struggling to pay the bills any talk of recovery seems a long way from the reality of their daily lives.

But my prayer this Easter is that they will find this hope. That Christians across our region can put aside their theological ideological difference s and come together to follow Christ's command to serve the least.

We have done extremely well through the Foodbanks, Credit Unions, Debt Advice centres and many other ways in which we work to relieve the poor. I hope we can continue to do this for the communities we serve.

For that will in some small way reflect the hope that Jesus offers us at Easter. A hope of a new beginning, a hope for a better world. Happy Easter.